SPHS 9 26 17 Future Pharmacist

Teamwork Lessons Propel KGI Pharmacy Students to Excel

KGI students participating in the CAPSLEAD (California Pharmacy Student Leadership) program said KGI’s  emphasis on team-based learning as a cornerstone of the curriculum gave them a distinct advantage over teams from other pharmacy schools at a recent leadership conference in Anaheim, CA.

Members of KGI’s eight-person team said they were able to start work faster, transition into each exercise easier and deal quickly with conflict management and negotiations.  

“We could see other teams struggling with that and we received compliments on how well we worked together as a team,” said Ashna Ramanlal, of KGI’s CAPSLEAD program.

This was the first time that KGI’s School of Pharmacy, which welcomed its inaugural class last fall, attended the leadership conference that took place February 28 through March 2. KGI students joined teams from nine other pharmacy schools in California for networking, presentations and team and group projects.  

In addition to Ramanlal, KGI students chosen to participate in the project are: Ricardo Arechiga, Susan Lee, Ariana Ayon Verduzco, Kim Nguyen, Wendy Su, Junel Tagayuna and Rajan Vaidya.

“For the KGI students, it was a very competitive process and an honor to be chosen,” said CAPSLEAD co-advisor Kristen Felthousen, SoP Associate Director for Students Affairs, about the selection process student underwent to be on the KGI team. 

A lottery system was utilized in selecting the topic of the research project. KGI’s team is researching issues relating to access to and cost of a new Hepatitis C medication.  

The posters will be presented at the annual meetings of the California Pharmacists Association West Coast Exchange in October 2015 and the California Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists in April 2016.  

Ramanlal  was surprised by the amount of help and advice the KGI team received from other faculty and students after they received the topic for their poster presentation.

“I really felt like it was going to very competitive among the teams but instead people were coming by our table giving us insights and contact information for people we should talk to,” Ramanlal said.  “I was shocked by that.”

Ricky Arechiga said meeting students from other schools helped broaden his experience and gain perspective about other programs. Many came from larger more traditional programs where lessons are delivered in lecture halls and there is very little interaction among students.

“When I told people that I knew almost everyone in my class, they were like ‘Wow, I can only name a handful,'” Arechiga said.

Rajan Vaidya also enjoyed networking with other students and came away with one or two connections from nearly every pharmacy school in California.

“That gives us the opportunity as we move forward to reach out and learn from their experiences,” Vaidya said. “As various challenges arise, programs are developed and new organizations are formed, we can identify any issues we should be wary of.” 

Eric Mack, SoP professor of Biopharmaceutical Sciences and the other CAPSLEAD co-advisor, said the conference was not only an opportunity for student pharmacists from different pharmacy schools to interact with each other to produce a successful project it also is notable that faculty advisors from the 10 schools are interacting with each other throughout the year.  

“That’s a level of cooperation one doesn’t usually see in other parts of the country,” Mack said.

The leadership emphasis of the conference is an important component because the future of pharmacies depends on it.

“There’s a belief that today’s student leaders are tomorrow’s pharmacy leaders and there are examples of people who were leaders in pharmacy school who are organizational presidents today,” Mack said.